By NARCISO THOMAS VILLARREAL
The Pima Community College football team is already busting its tail in preparation for the 2011 season, despite it still being the offseason.
Official signing day for new football recruits began on Feb. 2, and head coach Patrick Nugent wasted no time. He has already acquired 17 new Aztec football players, all of whom are from Arizona high schools. There isn’t a deadline for recruiting players.
Seven new defensive players and 10 new offensive players signed. Twelve of the new recruits have been offered scholarships while the other five have been invited to join the team but will not receive scholarships.
Nugent said he was very happy to sign defensive back D’Anthony Easley from Millenium High School, offensive lineman Josue Miranda from Bisbee High School and running back Willie Willis from Cienega High School.
Willis was the second best running back among Southern Arizona high school football teams, according to the Arizona Daily Star website. For the 2010-2011 season, he rushed for 1,830 yards on 171 carries and had 21 rushing touchdowns.
Out-of-state players can’t be offered scholarships due to school policy, but Nugent said they are eligible to play on the team as walk-ons. Walk-ons have to cover their own tuition.
The team still has 14 more scholarships to offer, while 37 positions are still available out of 100.
“We’re cautiously optimistic for the season,” Nugent said. “Our kids know what we’re expecting of them, and we know what we need to do in this league now.”
Last year, the team finished 3-8 overall and 1-7 in the Western States Football League in Nugent’s second year as head coach.
“We’re looking forward to bigger and better things next year,” he said.
Nugent said there is an array of tasks to be completed before the start of the season. They include recruiting more players, adjusting to new coaches and spring play.
Eight football players from the 2010 squad have moved on to four-year colleges.
Some have already began their new academic careers at their new schools while others will finish out this semester at Pima before moving on.
Former offensive lineman Erick Marquez had planned to attend Pima this semester but was recruited by the University of Sioux Falls less than a month ago. Two weeks ago he chose to play for USF, and on Feb. 2 he was on his way.
“It feels different, but it feels really good,” Marquez said about his new team.
Marquez will play offensive guard for the Cougars and said he is confident he will be a starter.
Daniel Boice, DE – Cienega High School
Andres Carcino, OL – Catalina High School
Wes Clausen, TE – Sabino High School
D’Anthony Easley, DB – Millennium High School
Jose Esquivel, WR – Nogales High School
Chris Fergoso, DB – Bisbee High School
Bobby Henkel, LB – CDO High School
Darrian McIver, WR – Catalina High School
Carson Martin, OL – CDO High School
Josue Miranda, OL – Bisbee High School
Graham Newcomb, OL – Higley High School
Chad Paineau, DE – Mount Pointe High School
Robert Palacios, OL – Coolidge High School
Matt Rockhill, LB – Wickenburg High School
Clarence Williams, LB – Amphitheater High School
Willie Willis, RB – Cienega High School
James Wimberly, RB – Cholla High School
Andy Garcia, RB – Adams State College
Brent Lush, LB – Adams State College
Griffin Ronstadt, DB – Adams State College
Aubura Taylor, RB – Fairmont State University
John Hughes, RB – Fayetteville State University
Nick Carlson, DB – Midland Lutheran College
Tyrone Williams, DL – University of San Diego
Erick Marquez, OL – University of Sioux Falls
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